Fertility Status of Artificially Inseminated Crossbred Cows of Kashmir Valley
M. R. Fazili,
The present study was conducted on 472 cattle (cows 370 and heifers 102) reared in a rural tract comprising of 6 villages in and around the veterinary faculty of the university. Artificial insemination was carried out to all the animals with frozen thawed semen having at least 50% post-thaw motility. Conception Rate (CR) and number of services per conception (NSC) were evaluated. Effect of breed, parity, season, estrus intensity and time of insemination in CR was also determined. Overall CR and NSC recorded were 69.09 and 1.72%, respectively. The CR of the cows was significantly (p<0.05) affected by estrus intensity; being highest in good (75.00%) and lower (60.87%) and lowest (57.89%) in moderate and weak estrus, respectively. No significant variation in CR was observed with respect to breed, parity, season and time of insemination. However, highest values were obtained in crossbred Jersey (70.16%), 3rd parity (74.00%), Summer season (73.91%) and insemination at 16±2 (73.81%) hours following onset of behavioral estrus. Sex ratio (male: female) of the calves born from conceived animals was 1:1.53. From this study it is concluded that under agro-climatic conditions of Kashmir to achieve maximum CR cows should be inseminated during 16-22 h following onset of behavioral estrus.
The term fertility is a qualitative term denoting ability of an animal to produce
young one (Sane et al., 1982). Fertility of a herd
is depended primarily on conception rate and number of services per conception.
Conception Rate (CR) is influenced by various factors including breed (Rao
et al., 1992), parity (Biochard and Manfredi,
1994; Fengxum, 1997), season (Alam
and Ghosh, 1988; Gordon, 1996), stage and/or intensity
of estrus (Gunasekaran et al., 2008) and time
of insemination (Miah et al., 2004). Fertility
of todays animals is lower than the ones that existed one or few decades
earlier. Gordon (2005) reported that calving rates to
first service is declining significantly by 0.7-0.9% per year. The most significant
factors explaining such decline are believed to be the genetic changes associated
with new strains of breeds, increased herd size and possibly increase use of
do-it-yourself insemination. In Ireland first service CR has decreased to 48%
in 2003 from 60-69% in 1980 (Mee, 2003; Gordon,
Artificial insemination has been widely adopted in upgrading the low yielding
non-descript cattle population using quality semen of Jersey and Holstein Frisian
breeds during last three decades in the temperate Kashmir valley. In some areas
of Kashmir valley upto 93% cattle are already upgraded and are mostly medium
milk producers (Bhattacharyya et al., 2009).
However, detailed basic information related to conception rate is not available.
This study was therefore undertaken to assess CR of cows reared in a rural tract
(comprising of 6 villages around veterinary faculty of SKUAST-K) that were presented
for artificial insemination at the Teaching Veterinary Clinical Complex.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
A total of 472 cattle (cows 370 and heifers 102) brought for insemination to
the clinics of the faculty during the period from 1st May, 2005 to 30th April,
2007 constituted the material of present investigation. Insemination with frozen
thawed semen having at least 50% post-thaw motility was carried out by a single
gynaecologist. The animals that did not conceive upto 3rd insemination were
considered repeat breeders (Roberts, 1971). All the animals
were free from any gross abnormality of reproductive tract. At the end of the
study period overall CR and number of services per conception (NSC) were determined.
Factors like breed, parity, estrus intensity, time of insemination and season
of the year were also recorded. Seasons comprised of Winter (16 Nov-15 March),
Spring (16 March-May), Summer (June-Aug) and Autumn (Sep-15 Nov). The most important
and appreciable signs of estrus were assigned scores from 1 to 3 (Table
1) in ascending order. Every animal was given a total score of 5-15 determined
after adding individual values of the various estrus signs. Depending upon the
individual total scores, estrus was categorized as good, moderate and weak with
a total score of 13-15, 8-12 and 5-7 for, respective category. To assess the
effect of time of insemination on CR, animals were inseminated at 10±2,
16±2, 22±2 and 28±2 h following the onset of behavioral
estrus. Sex ratio of the calves born from the conceived animals was also ascertained.
Statistical analysis was done by using Pearson chi-square test (Snedecor
and Cochran, 1994).
|| Estrus category
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Conception Rate (CR) and No. of Services per Conception (NSC)
The first service CR was recorded as 33.90%. This value is similar to the
value reported earlier in Holstein Frisian (HF) crossbred cattle of Bangladesh
(Miah et al., 2004). Dohoo (1983) recorded 19-54%
first service CR in Holstein cows. He also reported lower first service CR and
higher NSC in cows bred before 50 days post-partum compared with cows bred after
50 days post-partum. In our study, overall CR recorded was 69.09%. This value
was higher than one reported in indigenous breeds (Kumar
and Singh, 2009). However, overall CR as high as 82-91% was also reported
earlier in Holstein cows in Canada (Dohoo, 1983). The
cows included in our study belonged to uneducated rural farmers maintaining
one or two cows per family. Consequently, the high CR reported from organized
farm is not expected here.
In this study, average NSC was 1.72 (561/ 326). Similar values were reported
by several earlier workers (Azage et al., 1981;
Purbey and Sane, 1981; Kumar and
Singh, 2009). However, higher NSC ranging from 2.1 to 2.8 have also been
reported (Kumar and Bhat, 1979; Swensson
et al., 1981; Choudhuri et al., 1984).
The value of NSC greater than 2 is regarded as poor (Cook,
2009). According to Upham (1991) this value should
always be less than 2.25 and should never exceed 3 (Pennington
et al., 1985). However, NSC of as high as 3.6 is also reported in hill
cattle of India (Qureshi, 1979). In our study, 33.90,
20.55 and 14.62% animals conceived at 1st, 2nd and 3rd insemination, respectively.
Conception rate gradually decreased from first to third insemination.
Percentage of repeat breeding was 30.93% and this value was similar to the
finding recorded earlier in this locality (Bhattacharyya
and Buchoo, 2008). Butani et al. (2008) recorded
very high incidence of repeat breeding (49%) in crossbred cows from rural tracts
of Gujarat. Very low values of less than 5% are also reported in pure HF (Francos,
1974) and HF crosses (Narladkar et al., 1994).
The variation in reported percentage of repeat breeding could be due to variation
in breed, age, parity, breeding practices, semen quality, technical know-how
of inseminator, season, nutrition, agro-climatic condition of the area and modalities
of analyzing data (Abhilas et al., 2008).
Effect of Breed on CR
Conception rate varied non-significantly between crossbred Jersey and crossbred
HF cows. Non-significant difference in CR among different genotypes of cows
was also reported earlier (Gwazdauskas et al., 1975;
Ghosh, 1995; Miah et al., 2004).
Rao et al. (1992) observed higher CR in indigenous
cows than other genotypic groups. In fact, it is difficult to find out the effect
of cows genotype on their fertility. Instead environmental and managerial
conditions might have more influence on fertility (Miah
et al., 2004).
Effect of Parity on CR
In this study, CR of heifers and cows in their 1st to 3rd parity is approximately
the same i.e., 70-74% (Table 2, Fig. 1).
However, CR reduced although non-significantly beyond 3rd parity. Fengxum
(1997) also observed higher CR in 1st, 2nd and 3rd than in later parities.
Biochard and Manfredi (1994) reported higher (54%) CR
in 1st parity cows and lowest (38%) in 7th parity. Gunasekaran
et al. (2008) recorded non-significant association between parity
and conception upto 4th parity. From these findings it can be concluded that
CR from zero (heifer) to 3rd parity are usually constantly higher and decreased
subsequently (Smith, 1982; Miah
et al., 2004). In the present study, incidence of repeat breeding increased
with advancement of lactation.
||Influence of breed, parity, season, estrus intensity and time
of insemination on conception rate in crossbred cows
|| Effect of parity on CR
The high incidence of repeat breeding among older cows may be due to metritis
and other diseases which lead to reduction in fertility rate (Gunasekaran
et al., 2008).
Effete of Season on CR
Conception rate was found highest in Spring and Summer followed by Autumn
(Table 2, Fig. 2). Naidu
et al. (2000) also recorded non-significantly higher CR in Summer
(58.4%). Our study supports earlier finding of Gordon (1996),
who recorded higher fertility rate in Zebu cattle during Summer in countries
nearer to equator. Alam and Ghosh (1988) reported that
CR of cows significantly differed in different seasons.
|| Effect of season on CR
|| Effect of estrus intensity on CR
This variation might be due to changes in nutrition, environmental temperature,
climate, photoperiod and many other factors including influence of bulls (Saxena
and Tripathi, 1986). In the present study, low CR was recorded in Winter
months. Under Kashmir agro-climatic condition cattle are stall fed during Winter
and there is no supply of green fodder in this period leading to reduced intake
of vitamins and minerals. These factors could lead to conception failure including
repeat breeding. Moreover extreme cold (Gordon, 2005)
and extreme hot (Zakari et al., 1981) weather
can directly influence CR.
Effect of Estrus Intensity on CR
Significantly higher CR (P: 0.016) was observed in animals showing good
estrus (Table 2, Fig. 3). Low CR was found
in animals showing both moderate and weak estrus. Uterine tonicity and relaxation
of os-cervix are two important physical indicators for measuring intensity of
estrus (Das et al., 2009). Restlessness, bellowing
and mounting and/or allowing mounting other animals are most frequently observed
behavioral signs of estrus (Keown and Kononoff, 2007).
Gunasekaran et al. (2008) recorded 0, 14.74 and
42.42% CR in animals showing weak, moderate and intense uterine tone, respectively.
In the current study, at the time of presentation of the animals for insemination
67.66, 22.89 and 9.48% animals were in good, moderate and weak estrus, respectively.
|| Effect of time of insemination on CR
These findings reflect adequate literacy rate among the villagers regarding
Effect of Time of Insemination on CR
No significant difference was observed when insemination was carried out
either at 10±2, 16±2, 22±2 or 28±2 h following onset
of behavioral estrus; however, maximum conception was achieved when insemination
was conducted at 16±2 h (Table 2, Fig.
4). This period of insemination is about 2-8 h longer than the period covered
under routine am-pm rule of insemination. For the last 3 decades ovulation in
cows was considered to occur 25-33 h after onset of estrus (Chenault
et al., 1975; Beenard et al., 1983;
Rajamahendran et al., 1989). However, in a recent
report of Saumande and Humblot (2005) delayed ovulation
time (38.5 h) in present day animals has been recorded in HF cows. Consequently
CR will obviously be lower when insemination would be carried out by routine
am-pm rule. Due to synchrony of insemination with ovulation, high CR was recorded
in our study.
Miah et al. (2004) found highest CR (60.26%)
when insemination was done between 11-14 h of estrus and lowest CR (27.47%)
when insemination was done at later than 22 h. Das et
al. (1990) observed significant variation in CR; 58.82, 69.69 and 33.70%
when cows were inseminated in early, middle and late estrus respectively. Our
study supports the finding that insemination in mid or mid-late estrus period
is more preferable than either early or late estrus. It is more important to
inseminate a cow on the basis of duration of estrus; however, this period varies
from breed to breed and even from animal to animal. It can thus be concluded
that nowadays insemination few hours (2-8) later than the time followed earlier
is more beneficial for achieving optimum CR in crossbred cattle as estrus duration
and ovulation time from onset of estrus is also longer in these animals.
Sex of Calves
In the present study more female (276) calves were born than male (180)
and the ratio recorded was 1: 1.53. Ahmed et al.
(2005) recorded 1:1.16 sex ratio in swamp buffalo. Bhuyan
(1997) also recorded more female calves than male calves in his study.
From the study it can be concluded that breed, parity, season and time of insemination did not influence CR; while, stage of estrus significantly affected CR in crossbred cows reared under agro-climatic condition of Kashmir.
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